How we teach

Here on Magnolia Drive, we do things differently.

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The Work We Do Requires A
Paradigm Shift.

Actually, It
Three Of Them.

Paradigm Shift  1:
Your Learning

We’re building each aspect of the school around growth and deep learning for every student, rather than a single set of topics that everyone needs to learn.

We know that each student comes into each learning experience with their own growing to do, and no two students are the same. 

As we teach, we are constantly checking in ways large and small to see what you’ve learned and what you need to work on next. That’s really different from leading the class through a set of topics and checking them off the list one by one.

We believe that you are capable of way more than school often gives you credit for.

We also believe that you want to learn, but you grow more when you need to learn.

It turns out that really needing to know something is a much more powerful motivator for most of us than studying for a test or writing a paper that only one person will ever read.

In high schools around the world students often ask, When will I need to know this?

At the Mastery School, the answer is, emphatically: Now.

Paradigm Shift 2:
Our Teaching

Focusing on your learning also changes how we teach. We use the genuine challenges of a local partner to create your learning terrain where you’ll learn hard things because you need to know them in order to help another human being.

Our approach comes from Doris Korda, a master teacher who has developed a radically different methodology for teaching that’s centered on students solving real problems in their communities. She has trained our teachers in her methods, which are rooted in cognitive science and have been honed over years of working with students and teachers all over the world.

Teachers use these methods to design educational experiences so that you will learn all sorts of new things while doing. Teachers will help your team navigate the complex process of problem-solving through in-class workshops, field research, hands-on design exercises, collaborative assignments, and public presentations.

We know you learn best while doing something you care about. That makes it our job to create opportunities for you to do challenging and consequential things for people who need your help.

Learn more about
the science behind the method.

Paradigm Shift 3:
The End Result

Here’s a not-so-secret secret: Most people don’t remember much of what they learned in high school. It’s odd when you think about it: Why do we spend so much time learning things that we will forget?

Traditional school is based on the assumption that you need to prepare or “stock up” for some future where you’ll need to know the quadratic equation, the causes of the War of 1812, and how to conjugate irregular verbs.

Here, we understand our job isn’t so much to teach you things; it’s to help you learn how to learn. The world you will inherit will be so complex and will change so rapidly that we have a responsibility to help you build your knowledge base and deepen your skills and habits.

After all, there is no exam at the end of high school, just a set of hard questions:

  • How do you master complex content accurately and quickly?
  • How do you tackle a problem with no known solution?
  • How do you work with people who disagree with you and with whom you disagree?
  • How do you empathize? Lead? Listen? Partner?
  • How do you learn?

To learn more about Hawken’s Healthy Restart Plan, click here!